Doping: Blanket Russia ban would have been 'nuclear option' - IOC's Bach

Tue Aug 2, 2016 6:32pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A blanket ban on Russia at the Rio de Janeiro Games would have had devastating consequences, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Tuesday, defending his organisation's decision to allow some Russians to compete.

The IOC opted not to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics after revelations of a wide state-backed doping programme across many sports.

Instead it chose a set of criteria for athletes to meet, including a clean doping past and sufficient testing at international events, that so far has allowed more than 250 out of the original 387 Russian athletes to be cleared for Rio.

Bach, speaking at the IOC session, said preventing clean athletes from competing and treating them as "collateral damage" would have been wrong.

"This blanket ban of the Russian Olympic Committee has been called by some the 'nuclear option' and the innocent athletes would have to be considered as collateral damage," Bach said.

"Leaving aside that such a comparison is completely out of any proportion when it comes to the rules of sport, let us just for a moment consider the consequences of a 'nuclear option'. The result is death and devastation...

"The cynical 'collateral damage approach' is not what the Olympic Movement stands for."

Several anti-doping bodies, including the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), as well as those from the United States, Canada and Germany, among others, had called for a blanket ban.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach addresses the 129th IOC session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 1, 2016.   REUTERS/Sergio Moraes